Being Happy and Being a Writer by Emma Eisler

Today it rained more heavily in San Francisco than it has in a long while. Naturally, this prompted me to suggest we take a quick roll in the glass. I raced down to the field with Davis and Clare, laughing loud and strange from somewhere deep in my stomach. I collapsed in the grass immediately and felt the rainwater seeping into my sweatshirt and jeans.

Emma B eventually came down to the field and joined us, and then we ran back and forth across the field in a hysterical, wobbling line. I kept yelling, “It is raining and I am so happy,” over and over in a voice that was loud and uncontrolled like I must’ve sounded as a kid.

Later, in thinking about this moment, I realized what an accomplishment this kind of happiness is at sixteen. It is so easy to become caught up in the drudgery of work and routine and to lose sight of the incredible color and texture of the world. As a little kid, it is easy to be moved to moments of intense wonder or joy but every year the threshold for what is beautiful and what is important becomes a little higher and losing oneself in the feeling of rain in hair and grass on skin becomes just a little harder to obtain.

After coming to this realization, I began to wonder, as I always do after this kind of revelation, how this new understanding relates to my writing. The answer I came up with is pretty simple. When I am writing, I am attempting to portray a more heightened, more vivid version of the world. I am attempting to create something that somehow succeeds in being more real than the literal world around me. In order to succeed in this kind of writing, however, I need that basic love and respect for the world I see day to day. I need to be sensitive to changes in the weather and all the tiny and glorious phenomena that happen every day. Although people usually think of writers as being mature and self-contained, I find that my best writing actually emerges from the intense, unrestrained emotions of childhood and the days before maturity became a relevant idea.

Emma Eisler, class of 2017


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